“And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Luke 1:41 (NKJV)
It has been said that babies can hear the voices of people around them before they are born. At one time, there were those who recommended that classical music be played by expectant mothers to influence the baby. Tenseness of the mother can affect a baby, and classical music was thought to have a calming effect. The Bible tells us that Elizabeth’s baby, John the Baptist, reacted to Mary’s baby, Jesus, before being born. This would seem to tell us that it is important to begin influencing our children, even before they are born, to live for God.
What should parents do to influence children for Christ early in life? There is much that can be done. Perhaps the most important tool we have is attitude. The words we choose also play a big part, as well as choice of surroundings, to bring up a child “in the way he should go”.
A parent’s attitude is displayed through actions and words. It has been said that attitudes are caught, not taught. Overly critical parents often have children who condemn others. Children who have parents who praise them become confident. Compassionate parents often have compassionate children. Children who live with hostility often want to fight. Children learn patience by living with parents who love and tolerate those who are different. Children who live in a family that is fair learn justice. The influence of parental attitude cannot be overstated.
Playing music such as “Jesus Loves Me,” or “Jesus Loves the Little Children” familiarizes a child with the word “Jesus.” These are classics that should never be forgotten. Parents can talk to the baby and say such things as “I’m so glad God made you and put you in our family!” Unashamedly using the words “God” and “Jesus” instills attitudes in a child that will last a lifetime. As the child continues to grow, saying things like, “God sure made some pretty flowers”, or “God has to be very great to have made the world” also develop understanding that God is powerful. If we are alert, there are many, many ways we can use words in casual conversations to influence children.
Some parents choose to surround their children with objects that detract from God such as replicas of scary movie characters. Why not make sure the child is surrounded with things that point to God instead. A Bible placed where children see it often is a constant reminder of God’s Word. A cross or plaques in the home point children in the right direction. (To this day, I remember a plaque on the wall at my grandfather’s home that read, “There is only one life, it will soon be past. Only what’s done for God will last.”) If we are alert and really want to teach our children about God, there are many ways to do so.
When children are started right, they are more apt to end right!